Cause for complaint? - SG
Just wondered what others thought of the following and whether I have cause for complaint.....

My partner's Suzuki started to overheat on the M23 motorway the other day or at least the temperature gauge started to heat rapidly towards the red. So, she stopped and called the AA as there were no obvious signs of a leak etc. The AA thought it might just be a faulty thermostat as they could not find anything either. So, car was booked into the main dealer who also services the car and they checked and agreed it was a faulty thermostat. Next day, on the M4 back from Bristol the same thing happens again. So the car was returned to the garage which this time diagnosed a blocked radiator. Radiator was sent away to be recored (is that the correct term?) and thus far no further problems.

Aside from the fact that she received fairly poor customer service from the garage i.e. no curtsey car, phone calls not returned, told the radiator furs (sp?) like the inside of a kettle and this was the cause of the problem, it seems to me as a layman that checking the radiator would have been an obvious thing to do even if thermostat was faulty, although I can't help thinking that the thermostat was not faulty and it was replaced because thats what the AA thought. Obviously I've got no proof but I can't help but feel cheated, particularly as we've had to pay for two lots of coolant! Am I right to go in all guns blazing and try and seek some money back (afterall we aren't likely to be using them again!) or is it just one of those things?

Cause for complaint? - Ian (Cape Town)
If it's furred up, then it's obviously a coolant problem - do you top up with distilled H20, or just any stuff from the tap?
I know I used to live in a hard-water area, where radiators lasted no time at all as they got caked with fur.
Cause for complaint? - Vansboy
A few things to be asked before having a go at the garage...

How old is the car?
Whats mileage?
When was the last time the coolant was changed? (assuming it's more than 2 years old)
Did you have a 50/50 mix in the system?
Was this first long run for the car, for a while?
Whose been maintaining it?

The first guess of thermostat, was quite reasonable.Did they suggest it MIGHT have cured the problem, but keep an eye on it?

Did you let them know of the poor level of customer service, you had?

Cause for complaint? - martint123
Diagnosing an overheating problem is not always straight forward.
A stuck thermostat is a very common cause of this on any vehicle and is certainly one of the first things to replace - (if it isn't the cause, the putting the old one back would cost more in labour than the value of the thermostat). A blocked radiator is more likely to show a gradual increase in temperature over weeks or months rather than a sudden journey into the red.
Fixing cars is not a black and white science - yes, if a bit falls off, then it's easy, but otherwise it has to be a little hit and miss if there are multiple components that could cause the same symptoms.
Martin (no, I don't work in a garage ;-)
Cause for complaint? - No Do$h
When it comes down to diagnosing a fault, it is rare that the cause is staring the mechanic in the face. When a number of possible options are there, a good mechanic will replace the cheapest item first. That's exactly what happened here.

Sounds like your garage knows its stuff. Sorry..... :o(
If I don't reply it's nowt personal, I'm just working!
Cause for complaint? - Godfrey H {P}
Yup they went for the cheapest option first. After all if it had worked you would be a happy bunny.
Cause for complaint? - SG
Thanks for the replies.

In answer to the questions: It is more than 2 years old but is serviced every 6 months/6,000 miles by this main dealer, so coolant etc is changed regularly and we do not top up from the tap. My partner's work covers a large area so the car does a good mix of journeys including motorways without any problem. The fault was therefore sudden and unexpected. Garage seemed very definite that the thermostat was the problem and we were not told to keep an eye for on-going problems. That is probably why we feel a bit cheated, as the impression was they had solved the problem. I appreciate a garage is not always going to know the problem first off and I have had experiences where they work through different options, usually starting with cheapest first and yes, its always welcome news when the cheapest option works.

From what you have all said it sounds like the garage was reasonable in their approach, they just did not communicate it very well.

Cause for complaint? - martint123
Thinking about it - if you wanted to, you could ask them why they didn't refil the cooling system with the drained fluid if they had replaced it only a day or two before.

In the same area, you could ask about the 'furred' up radiator. If they had done all the servicing, they should have used deionised or distilled water with antifreeze and this should not clog up the radiator. I'd expect a much longer life than two years though.

Value my car